Flood damage in Lopata House

| Junior News Editor

Lopata House, a sophomore dorm in the Village, suffered lasting damage in its basement after a summer of record-breaking floods. The laundry room, computer room, and Muslim Prayer Room in Lopata have been closed until further notice. 

Senior Sam Kassab, a resident advisor on the second floor of Lopata, has been working to navigate the damage as a resident and RA.

Kassab said that the majority of the damage in the basement can be attributed to “a broken window during the time of a lot of flooding. That’s what caused a lot of rainwater to go inside the basement.”

Kassab is also a member of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) which has been unable to use their prayer room due to the damage. “I guess that’s made us worried,” he said.

The MSA has been forced to find a new place on campus to complete their prayers. “Since the prayer room has been damaged, it cannot be used at the moment,” Kassab said. “So us in the MSA have had to go to a different place in order to do our prayers.”

Holly Delany, Residential Community Director for the Village Community, sent an email informing Lopata and Village House residents that they will share the laundry and computer rooms in Village House until the damage is repaired, estimated to be Aug. 25.

As a result of the broken machines, Kassab said that “residents in Lopata have been having to use resources present in Village House in order to supplement what was once there.”

With two residential communities using one facility, Kassab expressed worries that issues might arise.

“There’s going to be a lot more traffic in the laundry room, so it might be hard to find laundry machines that are not occupied,” he said.

With the inconvenience of transporting laundry and sharing few machines with many students, Delaney stated in her email that “laundry will be free of cost for all residents in Lopata House and Village House until the laundry machines in Lopata House are ready for use again.”

Sophomore Lopata resident, Jason Costello, said that free laundry does not make up for the inconveniences of transporting laundry and dealing with increased traffic in the small laundry room.

“Despite it being free, it’s still super inconvenient for everyone living in Lopata because it takes us so much longer to do laundry,” Costello said. “I feel like WashU hasn’t really been doing anything else to help out the students who are in this situation, and it’s frustrating.” 

In addition to hauling laundry from one building to another, students have faced issues of displaced and lost laundry.

Costello noted that “because so many more people are using a laundry room that’s not fit for multiple buildings, a lot of laundry is getting lost.”

To supplement the losses and disruption, Lopata residents have called for the University to offer more resources.

“I want to advocate for my RCD to give the residents in Lopata, at least for this semester, free WashU Wash,” Costello added. 

The room in Lopata that holds much of the Outing Club and Wilderness Project’s trip gear was also affected by the flooding. 

“Fortunately most of our gear is waterproof, so not too much was damaged,” Outing Club executive committee member Caroline Halliday.

“Now the space that we rely on needs to be repaired before we can use it to its full extent again, but we are making it work,” Halliday said.

Sophomore Lily Vereen, a member of the Wilderness Project, wrote in a statement to Student Life that “almost the entire Lopata basement is being redone; the floors are stripped, the walls are being redone.” 

Student artwork on the first floor of Bixby Hall was also damaged in the floods.

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